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Why we do it

The Scouts carry out an annual census to create a detailed picture of the young people and adults that make up our membership. Knowing who our members are helps to better inform and deliver the support and services provided to meet the needs of our members.

The census figures also provide information regarding the payment of the national membership fee for youth members and associated levies at various levels of the movement.

Key dates

  • January: passwords are sent out to members.
  • Friday 14 January: census site opens.
  • Monday 31 January: official census date. 
  • Sunday 20 February: census site closes; all data must have been submitted and approved at all levels up to County.

Getting more help

We have written a guide for each of the main census return types, and we have updated our FAQs, but if you need more help, please get in touch with Scout Information Centre by by email on, or you can use Live Chat on our website.

Getting started

If you have never done the census before or want to prepare for it we suggest you look through the return guides below first. You can also access our FAQs, help for approvers, and other resources on the right hand side.

OSM Integration

Users of OSM Gold have access to the 'Census Aggregator' tool which makes life easier by providing a summary of your census return that you can copy accross into the census form. For those groups who use OSM Gold, and have opted into the OSM data sharing partnership, from January 2021, a button will be available in OSM to submit your aggregated youth data for the Census. This means that you won’t need to enter the data twice, saving you valuable time. Of course, please double check your data on the Census platform at the same time as you are completing the rest of the Section return.

If you want to sign up for the pilot you still can, take a look at how you get started.



Regular questions that pop up about the census systems, and why we ask some of the questions that we do.

Read FAQs